Project Tango has been under development for a few months now, and Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) division has put a lot of work into it. We’ve seen the Tango smartphone and what it can do with its dual cameras and powerful specs. If you’re not familiar with Tango, it is Google’s own 3D mapping device which promises to deliver real-time indoor 3D mapping capabilities to end users via a smartphone and now, a tablet.
nVidia announced that their desktop-grade Tegra K1 chips will power the new tablet DevKit which will be available shortly. The new tablet is aimed at developers and comes packed full with some pretty powerful hardware, a result of the close collaboration between Google and nVidia.
Project Tango Prototype Tablet
As mentioned earlier, the device is not a consumer product, being aimed at developers which are capable of creating content to take advantage of the new hardware. Google’s aims are clear with regards to Project Tango, and that is to give end users the same capabilities that military-grade hardware provides, but in a small and ultimately affordable device.
The new tablet looks very good for a DevKit, being housed in a slim and lightweight case, which looks more similar to a consumer product then a DevKit. But even so, the similarities end as soon as you take a look under the hoot of this tablet. There you will find components which are somewhat of an overkill for a tablet. This approach was necessary to ensure that developers will have a lot of headroom to create their content and not be limited by any hardware bottlenecks. Here’s a quick preview of what the new DevKit Tango tablet has under its slim case:
- 7-inch 1080p display
- nVidia Tegra K1 chip with 192 programmable GPU cores
- 4GB of RAM
- 128GB internal storage
- USB 3.0
- Bluetooth LE
- Android KitKat
The tablet “sees” the world via two cameras located on the back one having a 4 MP sensor with large two-micron pixel which offers high light sensitivity and fast operation, while the other is a 170 degree fish eye camera. The two cameras are working together with a depth sensor. The beauty of the Tango tablet is that it will be capable of running applications already developed by research teams which were developed to run on PC platforms.
When finished, Project Tango will be able to map in real time indoor environments as well as measure distances between object and allow users to interact with the map by adding other objects or help visually impaired users by providing real time turn-by-turn indoor navigation. Of course, there are other uses for the Tango tablet, one being in virtual reality gaming. Johnny Lee, project lead for Tango showcased for Engadget a virtual reality game which added an overlay over the environment, essentially turning the tablet into a window to another world.
In terms of price and availability, the Google Project Tango tablet DevKit will be available starting late June for $1024. Google announced there will be a limited number of devices available, so not all developers will get the chance of obtaining one.